Taking a step back, I watch him line up with Marshall’s knees. I know I should stop him but I can’t quite bring myself to do it.

Everything is spinning out of control. I don’t know what to do. Should I shoot? Who do I shoot?

How did it all come to this?

Swinging forward, the sledgehammer crashes into Marshall again while Lucifer roars above the crack, “He fucking hurt you!”

Marshall blubbers and begs behind his gag. He’s such a mess from the thigh down I can’t even bear to look at him.

“Stop, please. You have to stop,” I beg willing my hand to stop shaking. Averting my eyes, I focus on the pools of blood on the floor instead, finding a strange calm in them. “It’s enough. You’ve done enough. Please.”

“It will never be enough, Lily. He deserves so much more than I could ever do to him.”

“No,” I shake my head, unable to keep the tears back. “No one deserves this. No one.”

“You only say that because you don’t know what he had planned for the children.”

And just like that the edges of my vision stop shaking. Everything comes into sharp focus.

“What?” I ask, glancing back up in shock. “What are you talking about?”

Still gripping the sledgehammer in his hands, Lucifer turns towards me, his face a cold mask.

“I heard them talking in Japanese. You may not have understood what they were saying but I did. I’m fluent. You think he was going to stop with you once he got what he wanted? No. He also made a deal to sell the children. The Yakuza were especially interested in Adam… they had a Middle Eastern buyer lined up, prepared to pay top dollar.”

“Oh god,” I gasp, feeling a fresh wave of bile rising up in my throat.

“And our little Evie with her blonde hair…”

Every ounce of compassion I was feeling for Marshall goes up in flames in an instant. He was going to hurt my children? My babies?

I turn the gun now on Marshall. “You fucking monster! You were going to sell the children too?”

I don’t need his answer. Of course he was. After he gave us to Lucifer, how could I expect anything less?

“Don’t shoot him, my love. A bullet would be too gentle.”

Marshall moans and shakes his head weakly back and forth. My finger brushes against the trigger. Everything in me wants to shoot him, to put an end to this.

But I just can’t bring myself to do it.

How do I end a life? Even his? He’s done awful, horrible things to us. He’s the entire reason the children and I are even in this mess. I would never have been in this position if he had just stepped up. If he had given a shit. If he had been a husband, a father. If he had just been a fucking man.

“Lily…” Lucifer says softly, dropping the sledgehammer to the ground with a thud before he begins to walk towards me.

I turn towards him and the gun turns with me.

“Put the gun down,” he says calmly.

I shake my head but I’m lowering the barrel down as I do it. If I can’t shoot Marshall how can I shoot him? Now that I know why he’s doing all of this I get it. I totally understand why he’s doing this.

Gently, Lucifer lays his hand on top of the pistol and pushes it down. “Give me that,” he says softly, drawing it from my fingers. Turning, he sets the pistol off to the side before pulling me into his arms.

I need his arms around me. I need his warmth and his comfort. Clutching his shirt, I bury my face against his chest and all the emotions inside of me come bubbling out of my mouth. I cry and I sob, soaking him with my tears. I cry for myself. For my children. For Marshall.

He holds me through it all, stroking back my hair and whispering soft words of comfort.

“It will all be over soon,” Lucifer reassures me as my sobs die away.

The numbness is starting to sink in. I welcome it. I need it to get through this.

Tipping my head back, I peer up at his face. “Lucifer—”

His eyes flash and he cuts me off. “Use my name, Lily.”

I lick my lips and say his name tentatively. It feels foreign and strange on my tongue. “Matthew… I want to go home. I want to see Adam and Evelyn.”

He nods, tucking a stray strand of hair behind my ear. “We’re almost done here.”

I don’t like the sound of that. What more is there to do? How much more can Marshall’s body withstand?

“Can’t you just shoot him like the others so we can get out of here?”

Did I really just say that?

“No. We must send a message. This kind of shit ends here. No one messes with you, and no one will after this.”

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